Understanding Humanism

Online courses

We have two free online courses available. Both will support you to learn more about humanism. While one focuses on the nature of humanism and its response to life’s big questions, the other centres around the people who describe themselves as humanists and the way they live their lives. The courses can be taken in any order.

Our courses have been taken by thousands of people from around the world. They are a great way to engage in social learning.


Introducing humanism: non-religious approaches to life

Join Sandi Toksvig for an exploration of humanism and life’s big questions.

The course covers a wide range of topics relevant to the study of any worldview: identity, knowledge, meaning, and morality. Featuring contributions from philosophers, representatives of humanist organisations, and members of the public, it encourages discussion and debate around life’s big questions: How can I know what is true? What is the best way to live? What kind of world do I want?

You’ll explore the tensions and dilemmas contained within a humanist view, as well as the arguments against it, and the responses humanists give to those arguments. Whether you are a humanist, religious, or none of the above, it should allow you the opportunity to reflect on life’s bigger questions for yourself.

Join us for a conversation about the best way to live!

Course outline

Week 1: Humanism and the human being

Week 2: Understanding reality

Week 3: Making life meaningful

Week 4: Being good

Week 5: Humanism in practice: a better world?

Week 6: What is humanism?

Click here for more information and to register for Introducing humanism.


Humanist Lives

Join Alice Roberts and hear stories from humanists around the world.

Our second course is much more focused on the people rather than the philosophy (less about humanism and more about humanists). From their stories, you’ll learn about their motivations, the diverse ways in which humanism can be expressed, and the beliefs and values that unite them. You’ll learn about the questions, choices, challenges, and joys found in a humanist approach to life and have the opportunity to reflect on and evaluate it for yourself.

Featuring interviews with scientists, artists, politicians, journalists, campaigners, and celebrants, including Polly Toynbee, Jim al-Khalili, Frank Turner, Natalie Haynes, and Steven Pinker, it will give you the opportunity to learn about what it means to be a humanist today.

Course outline

Week 1: Life stories

Week 2: Freedom

Week 3: Global goals

Week 4: Hard times

Week 5: More to life

Week 6: Making things better

Click here for more information and to register for Humanist Lives.


Course access

The courses are hosted on the FutureLearn platform. They are always available, which means you can start them whenever you want. Each course last for six weeks. However, access to the material remains open for a few additional weeks after the end of the course.

All the videos are subtitled and transcripts are available. FutureLearn can be contacted for support with any other questions relating to accessibility.


Contact Us

Humanists UK
39 Moreland Street
London EC1V 8BB

Understanding Humanism

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